At the time, my photography was mostly limited to wildlife, landscapes, and other ephemera that I found interesting. A person or two had stepped in front of my lens. Only one was not a friend or family member. She was braver than I deserved and I greatly appreciate her allowing me that chance. You see, at some point, the rookie photographer needs to step out into the big, wide world and find someone willing to risk their time in the hopes of decent images.
If you know me, you know that I am anything but bold about approaching strangers. I value the comfort and privacy of other people as much as I value my own. After all, if I don’t give them their space, why should I expect that they’ll give me mine? Imagine, if you will, the day I walk into a clothing store to chat with a young lady about a photoshoot. We had been discussing things online, but this was new. I was as far out of my comfort zone as I was likely to go to find a model. Somehow, I held it together.
First Model Shoot
Not long after, I found myself in a location that, while ever-changing, would become increasingly familiar to me. With a more experienced model there to assist, I felt a sense of creative confidence that hooked me. Don’t get me wrong: I was nervous as ever. I usually am, even with models I have worked with a dozen times. It stems from that internal need to make every photo better than the last. We can get along famously, but my ability to make the camera sing is always in question. At least, that’s how it works in my head.
That first experience of working with a stranger, having only discussed a time, place, and general concept made something click. Suddenly, I realized that I can do this. More important, I realized that I needed to do this. The impact of being part of a creative collaboration is hard to describe. I’ll spare you the attempt.
Reminder of a Continuing Story
As I thought about this experience, I found an outtake and did a quick edit. My understanding of the tools at hand, as well as the progress made in technology, took what was an average image and made it something I would consider a good start today. Being able to go back a decade and find images I still like is a reminder of what may yet be.
Somewhere out there is another photographer, model, makeup artist, or designer looking for their first experience. It is scarier today than ever to take that step, I think. This is me hoping that maybe, just maybe, my story may be a reminder to someone of why they started their journey. A reminder that the first step is just that: A first step.